Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Orange Wine Of The Earth

The Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Orange 2022 is labeled, unofficially, as "skin contact wine of the earth." The orange color comes from fermenting white wine grapes on their skins, which has become a fairly trendy trick for winemakers in recent years. 

The "le cigare" in the name refers to the French term for UFO. The back label tells an abbreviated version of the story about legislation put on the books in the Rhône Valley back in the 1950s. The law banned UFOs from landing in the vineyards. It appears to have worked.

This orange wine was made from 80% Grenache Blanc grapes, 10% Grenache and 10% Orange Muscat. The grapes were grown in a handful of Central Coast vineyards: Beeswax, Windfall, Loma del Rio and Carrasco. The label says that Le Cigare Orange is vegan friendly and gluten free, carries alcohol at 10.5% abv and cost about $15 at my local Whole Foods Market a couple of weeks ago. 

This wine has a beautiful copper color in the glass. The nose is laden with minerals and stone fruit, as one would expect from a white wine. The mouthfeel leans a bit toward red wine territory, or at least a crisp rosé. Red fruit appears in the flavor profile, along with apricots and peaches. There is quite a bit of acidity and freshness to the sip. The finish is long and clean. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Summer With Sauvignon Blanc From New Zealand

Summertime is the heyday for white wines and rosés. Maybe the most appreciated white during the heat of summer is a cool and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Nobody does SB like NZ, and the Appellation Marlborough Wine is where some of the most satisfying New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are made. Need a map of the appellation? Here it is right here

Babich is a family owned winery which was established in 1916. If a company is successful for more than a century selling wine, they must be doing it right. The 2022 Babich Family Estate's Sauvignon Blanc is a single vineyard wine, Headwaters Vineyard, in Wairau Valley. The organic grape varieties used were Sauvignon Blanc (86%), Pinot Gris (9%), Grüner Veltliner (5%) and a splash of Albariño. That makes for an interesting blend.

The wine saw stainless steel tank fermentation with a quarter of the wine receiving malolactic fermentation, to smooth out the flavor and add some creaminess. Alcohol hits just below 13%, at 12.9% abv, and the retail price is around $14, but I see it for a couple dollars less online. The sustainably produced wine is bottled under a screw cap.  

This wine appears in the glass with a light green-gold hue. The nose gives a great citrus aroma, with lemons, limes and oranges in play. There is also a strong mineral note and a fairly intense herbal smell, but with a bit of a sweet edge to it. The palate has acidity that is fresh and invigorating. The flavors follow the tropical/citrus slant established on the nose. The mouthfeel is on the creamy side, despite the ripping acidity and the finish is lengthy. This wine will be a great match for a plate of oysters. 

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Friday, August 25, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Waterlogged

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week we don our snorkeling gear for a dip in the cool waters of celluloid. Wine pairings for those flicks await you onshore.

The 2020 thriller, Underwater, has no exclamation point after the word, which helps, along with many other things, to differentiate it from the 1955 movie that does have the exclamation point. Usually it is overuse of commas that gets me into trouble with the punctuation police. 

Wine is not, despite what some people think, alcohol with water in it. That's called scotch and water, or gin and tonic, or a wet martini. These days, some folks are putting their wines under the water for aging purposes. They feel the gentle movement of the waves will offer some assistance in getting the wine to its senior years.

One wine seller recently had to pour out two thousand bottles of their wine which had been gently swaying in the waters off Santa Barbara. They put those cases below the waves without the permission of the California Coastal Commission, which branded the wine "unfit for human consumption." That also describes some wines I've had in the past, and some movies I've seen.

In Underwater, an earthquake hammers an undersea drilling facility and the crew has to escape. Making it difficult are a lack of escape pods, a long underwater walk to another facility, and monsters. I guess the monsters are probably their biggest hurdle.

Let's pair a wine with Underwater which has actually spent some time underwater, but with the proper permits. Croatia's Edivo Vina Winery is above ground along the Adriatic Sea, but their Navis Mysterium wine is aged for a couple of years below the waves. A bottle of this seafaring vino can run up to $400, but it comes in a nice wooden box. Use that for burying your wine budget.

She Gods of Shark Reef livened up 1958 for B-movie fans. Director Roger Corman says he doesn't remember any She Gods in the picture, but there are some beautiful hula dancers in it, who are given considerable time in a movie that is only seconds more than an hour long.

There are sharks in the movie, and that makes a wine pairing easy. Look for a golfer whose nickname is "The Great White Shark." Greg Norman Estates has good stuff from California, Australia and New Zealand. None are named "Shark" but each has the telltale fin on the label. 

What story there is follows a shipwrecked pair of brothers in a tropical paradise populated with beautiful hula dancers. One of the brothers is a good guy and the other is a bad guy. That's how it goes in adventure films. By the way, you won't see many other movies in which the shark is a good guy, at least comparatively. 

1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon has probably influenced more pop culture than any other man-in-a-suit movie. The Gill-man turns up in video games on the casino floor, a Dave Edmunds song was written about him, and he even stars in homoerotic literature, not to mention the raft of movie monsters that were inspired by or patterned after him.

When it comes to instinct-driven characters in the movies, the creature has primal motivation. Does Gill-man want to kill? No. Does he want to destroy? Not really. Does he want to find a way back home? Hell no. He wants the girl. I've already got a girl, so I'll be happy with a bottle of wine.

Black Lagoon Carignan has no doubt been waiting for just this pairing. The wine comes from the south of France - Languedoc-Roussillon, to be precise - and has a depiction of the creature on the label. At least, I’m guessing it is the Gill-man. It looks like it could be a pair of frog's legs, which is not a bad idea for what to nibble on while watching and imbibing. 

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc From Marlborough

Summertime is the heyday for white wines and rosés. Maybe the most appreciated white during the heat of summer is a cool and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Nobody does SB like NZ, and the Appellation Marlborough Wine is where some of the most satisfying New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are made. Need a map of the appellation? Here it is right here

Greywacke - pronounced grey-wacky - refers to the bedrock under which a good part of New Zealand lies, the stones of which are found in Marlborough's rivers and soils. Winemaker Kevin Judd specializes in Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, using grapes grown in several vineyards of particularly high quality in Marlborough's Southern Valleys and the central Wairau Plains (specifically Woodbourne, Renwick and Rapaura). 

Most of the 2022 Greywacke Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was fermented in stainless steel tanks, while a portion was allowed to ferment spontaneously in old oak barrels. The wine spent a good deal of time on the lees as it waited for bottling. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and it can be found for around $20.

This wine is a very pale yellow in the glass. The nose offers aromas of Meyer lemon, lime, guava, tropical fruit, a bit of grassiness and a touch of nectarine. That massive cornucopia of fruit tends to mask the mineral aspect, but it is there. The palate is a bright and zesty fruit stand as well. Big, ripe flavors burst forth on the sip, while a gentle acidity gives freshness in an almost creamy setting. The time spent sitting on the lees did wonders for the wine. 

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Monday, August 21, 2023

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc For Summer

Summertime is the heyday for white wines and rosés. Maybe the most appreciated white during the heat of summer is a cool and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Nobody does SB like NZ, and the Appellation Marlborough Wine is where some of the most satisfying New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are made. Need a map of the appellation? Here it is right here

Spy Valley's 2022 Satellite Sauvignon Blanc is all Marlborough fruit, overseen by viticulturist Adam McCone for winemaker Wendy Stuckey. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes were plucked mainly from the Johnson Estate vineyard. Alcohol is easy to take, at 12.5% abv, as is the $17 retail price. Spy Valley works closely with the New Zealand conservation group Forest & Bird. 

This pale wine shows mineral and herbal qualities on the nose. The wine smells much grassier than the previous two New Zealand SBs I sampled (Babich and Greywacke). The palate shows a boatload of citrus minerality, too, with a racy acidity. Crustaceans and mollosks are welcome here. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - The Friedkin Connection

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we say goodbye to another great. Director William Friedkin has left us these films by which to remember him while we drink.

When we think of Friedkin, we naturally think of The Exorcist, from 1973. That's a film that prompted a lot of people to drink, if only to try and forget the pea-soup vomiting scenes. Of course, there were plenty of things we tried to drink away that year. Vietnam. Nixon. Watergate. Match Game '73. Just to name a few. Hey, maybe the devil made that 18-minute gap in the White House tapes!

Back to pea-soup vomiting. That makes us think of excessive consumption of green beverages. Or is it just me? Chartreuse, Midori and crème de menthe are perfectly good spirits to effect a green remembrance of the night's boozing, but absinthe is my favorite green meanie. If you are skipping the viewing of The Exorcist, these verdant cocktails might come in handy on St. Patrick's Day. 

The film offered several other moments of fright, like Linda Blair's head spinning, bed levitation, the crucifix scene, and one of the more gut-wrenching medical procedures outside of the dental sequence in Marathon Man.

Friedkin was not the first choice to direct The Exorcist. Or the second. Or the third. In fact, a good chunk of the roll call at the DGA had first crack at it. Friedkin got it, however, with a little help from the book's author, William Peter Blatty. He thought Friedkin's documentary background would bring an element of realism to the film. He was right.

Two sequels to The Exorcist were made, along with a short-lived television series, and now three new sequels are planned for the near future. I don't know about you, but sequels usually drive me to drink. Get those green cocktails ready to pour.

Now, when we think of France we think of wine, right? But The French Connection is an American movie, so let's not rush to Bordeaux. The French Connection Winery, in the Texas Hill Country, produces wines using Texas-grown Rhône grapes. Syrah, Roussanne and Viognier all grace their wine list, of course. But this winery also slaps a cowboy hat on Counoise. That's ballsy. Their slug line, "Santé, y'all," is a registered trademark, so be careful how you use it in your everyday life.

New Mexico's Gruet Winery makes a highly respected sparkling wine using in-state grapes and fruit from Washington and California. It was started by a Bordeaux winemaker who apparently thought just making wine wasn't hard enough. "Let's do it in New Mexico!" Gruet is another French connection in American wine.

Friedkin directed The French Connection all the way to an Oscar for Best Directing. That is a bit like a wine lover becoming a Master Sommelier. It looks very good on a résumé, but once it is on your résumé, you probably don't need a résumé anymore. They'll be calling you.

In the 1971 classic, Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider play a couple of cops who are just trying to keep the streets of the Big Apple clean. Their dream of a drug-free NYC is way out of reach, and they know it. But Popeye Doyle will wave goodbye to that little Frenchman if it's the last thing he does. 

The pursuit of that French drug smuggler is the most tenacious thing ever put on celluloid. Friedkin has said that the car chase scene was a last-minute addition to the script and was a real seat-of-the-pants production where his documentary skills paid off. The car reportedly covered 26 blocks at high speed with nary a city permit in hand. He later said it was so dangerous that he would never stage that sort of stunt again. 

Friedkin and Scheider would work together again in 1977 on Sorcerer. Do you want to talk about a bad beat? Friedkin's Sorcerer came out in the same year as Star Wars. Consider your thunder stolen. Some say Sorcerer is a remake of 1953's The Wages of Fear, although that "some" does not include Mr. Friedkin. He should know - he made the movie.

If Sorcerer is a forgotten classic, let me refresh your memory. Four desperate men are assigned to haul some nitroglycerin somewhere in South America. Do they have any special training for this? Of course not - if they did, it's a documentary.  If you are watching and wondering, "Hey, where da Sorcerer at?" have no fear. It's the name of one of the nitro-hauling trucks.

I had the pleasure of seeing Sorcerer in a beautiful 35-millimeter print, with plenty of inexpensive popcorn at the concession stand. Thank you, New Beverly Cinema! Sorcerer shows that desperate, untrained men handling explosives rarely end up in a positive situation, but usually they make a great story.

I simply didn't have the heart to pair a Bulgarian wine called Explosion with Sorcerer. I took a similar hard pass on any wine-related item which featured Mickey Mouse in a sorcerer's hat, and I urge you to do the same. 

Família Geisse makes some of the top sparkling wines in the America from the southern hemisphere - in big, bad Brazil, in fact. If you're feeling reckless, shake up a bottle and let it rip.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Organic And Naked Cabernet Sauvignon From Argentina

Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a fair price. They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

They also distribute Art of Earth, a global vintner which makes wine from organic vineyards the world over. Their line includes bottling from Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Argentina. They claim their wines are "true to their origins and winemaking traditions without the use of pesticides or herbicides."

The organic grapes for the 2021 Art of Earth Cabernet Sauvignon were raised and harvested in the central-east valley of Mendoza, Argentina. Winemaker David Gargantini vinified the wine in steel, and there was no oak aging. Alcohol sits at just 13% abv and the retail price is low, too, at only $12. 

The wine's color is medium dark. The nose is bright and fruity, full of ripe red raspberry, cassis and red vines. On the palate that fruit really shines, with no coloring from oak treatment. The tannins are quite firm and the acidity provides a fresh blast. A pairing with steak is okay, but this wine might be better suited to salmon, marinara or an earthy bean dish. 

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Monday, August 14, 2023

Organic Chardonnay From Argentina

Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a fair price. They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

They also distribute Art of Earth, a global vintner which makes wine from organic vineyards the world over. Their line includes bottling from Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Argentina. They claim their wines are 'true to their origins and winemaking traditions without the use of pesticides or herbicides.'

The organic grapes for the 2022 Art of Earth Chardonnay were grown in Argentina's central-east valley of Mendoza. Winemaker David Gargantini vinified the wine in steel, so it not not oak aged and it allows the true nature of the fruit to shine. Alcohol sits at 12.5% abv and the retail price is only $12.

This wine has a beautiful, yellow-gold hue. The nose is clean and fresh smelling, with floral notes joined by citrus, mineral and a hint of pineapple. The palate brings a crisp assortment of flavors - lemon, peach, pear - in a mineral-laden scene which is graced with a fresh acidity. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Hill Country

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, Blood of the Vines comes up with wine pairings for three films directed by Hill, Walter Hill. It's Hill Country.

Hill is known as something of a cowboy, a rough-hewn writer in a cowhide director's chair. He brought his bravado in 1984 to Streets of Fire, a rock and roll musical that melded together the MTV '80s and the High School Confidential '50s. 

Everyone involved with the picture was excited about the prospect of a trilogy featuring the hero character Tom Cody, until the film tanked at the box office. Then, it was a race to see who could distance themselves from it the fastest. The critics of the day seemed to be rooting for Streets to be a good picture, while admitting that it just didn't cut the mustard. 

Hill says he found that shooting music was tougher than he thought it would be. He may have come away with a newfound respect for directors of those MTV music videos, which his film tried to emulate. 

It was reported that Hill also found it tough to work with a cast full of "kids" - nobody in the film was over 30. One actor remembered Hill saying, "Don't ask me how to act! I'm a director!" Those "kids" - Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, Amy Madigan, Bill Paxton, Rick Moranis - who would want that bunch of toddlers asking their questions and making you late for happy hour? 

I don't know if anyone calls Walter Hill "Walt," but maybe they will after this pairing. Sonoma's WALT Wines specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That may be a little fancy for a rawhide guy like Hill, but he might drink it if there was no bourbon laying around. 

Hard Times was Hill's 1975 debut as a director. The casting gods gave him a lot to work with in his inaugural outing. Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Jill Ireland and, as if those names weren't enough, Strother freaking Martin. The names look great on a marquee or a one-sheet, but as with music and younger actors, Hill managed to find some difficulty. Bronson got along with him great, until after the film. The he-man was reportedly upset with the way Hill edited scenes involving Ireland, Bronson's wife. Hill says that Coburn and Martin provided some difficult days on the set. 

The Depression-era, bare knuckles streetfighter portrayed by Bronson in Hard Times struck a good nerve with people. The south Louisiana setting worked well and critics liked the film enough to scrawl out some kind words about it. The general public was even kinder, giving up their hard-earned dollar bills to see it. 

How could we not enjoy a good ol' Temecula wine with Hard Times, particularly when it is a Bare Knuckle Malbec? Don't sell Temecula short. There are some high quality wines being made in Riverside County.

Hill went back to the Bayou State in 1981 for Southern Comfort, an action film set in the swamp. The story is a military version of Deliverance. A squad of National Guardsmen are slogging through bivouacs and get on the wrong side of some of the locals. Watch Southern Comfort and Deliverance for a textbook lesson on what happens when you and your dumbass friends antagonize the hicks. Squeal like a pig, indeed. Squeal like a nutria rat.

Hill says he is proud of the movie, even though it failed to attract an audience. Looking back, it is hard to understand how people didn't flock to see Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward and Peter Coyote. Even the music, by Ry Cooder, was outstanding. Hill remembers that he would have been happy had Southern Comfort found fans somewhere, anywhere. He probably exaggerates when he says that nobody liked the film, anywhere. 

The movie was shot outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. There is little to justify going into Shreveport, unless you are particularly fond of meat pies. Never mind finding something to do outside of Shreveport. Keep in mind that this crew spent close to two months in Shreveport. I'll bet they consumed a fair amount of Southern Comfort in their off hours, and maybe in their on hours as well.

The pairing for Southern Comfort? It would be so easy to grab a bottle of Southern Comfort and start swigging. Too easy, even if you do as the maker suggests and craft a Manhattan from it, using bacon slices for garnish. Let's dig a bit deeper, even though it is tough to dig in the swamp. 

Wines produced in Louisiana are a little hard to come by. There are only a small handful of wineries, and shipping is a problem. If you are in a beer mood, Abita Brewery makes a number of mighty fine ones which are available all over the nation. The brewhouse is located just down the road from Bogalusa, across the lake from a little place called New Orleans. If you happen to find yourself in Shreveport for some reason, stop in for a sample of the wines at On Cloud Wine. My feeling is their Pinot Noir probably grew somewhere else, but I'll bet the Muscadine is a Cajun original. 

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Bordeaux Grapes From Israel's Coolest Climate

Galilee is a highly respected wine region in Israel. Golan Heights Winery says it's the best area, and they also push their sub-region as tops. Well, it is the northernmost in the nation, and it is the coolest region. That is where the grapes for the 2022 Mount Hermon Red wine were grown. 

Golan Heights Winery's rocky volcanic soil, cool climate and high altitude estate yielded the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes that went into the 2022 Hermon Mount Hermon Red Galilee. It is kosher for Passover, has alcohol at 14% abv and sells online for less than $20.

This wine is medium dark in the glass. It has a nose which puts ripe fruit up front, with cherry, raspberry and red currant dominating. Some spice rack is present, but oaky notes are not overwhelming here. Earthiness comes on in a co-starring role, however. Red fruit is the leader on the palate, too. There is a bit more oak influence in the flavor profile, but not to a great degree. Earth and mineral notes support the fresh, fruity aspect of the wine. Tannins are medium firm and the wine is very tasty and drinkable.

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Monday, August 7, 2023

Summertime sippers - A Rioja Red

Summertime - especially this one - calls for wines that like to be served with a chill. The winemakers of Rioja want you to know that they craft many wines that go very well with hot weather - whites and rosés for sure, but even a few red crianzas like to be iced down before braving a barbecue. 

El Coto Crianza 2019 

Yes, a red wine can appear next to the BBQ grill and serve a thirsty crowd well on a hot day. To get the most from chilling a red wine, look for one that is low or moderate in alcohol, one that hasn't been aged in oak for more than a year or is oakless altogether, and one whose tannins are easy on the tongue. 

This youthful 2019 El Coto Crianza was aged in oak for 12 months and in the bottle for another half a year, which earns the wine its name of "crianza." This is a full varietal wine, 100% Tempranillo. The alcohol level sits at a comfortable 13.5% abv and the retail price is cozy, too, just $17.

It is a dark wine, one which lets very little light pass through. The nose displays more fruit than oak, which is a good sign if you plan to chill it and serve it outside. Blackberry, raspberry, cassis, anise all shine brightly, with light notes of clove and cinnamon. The palate is clean and fresh, with the dark fruit taking a bow. The tannins are maybe a little firm for an outdoor meal under the sun, but the acidity is brisk and refreshing. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Double Acts

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, Blood of the Vines has double vision - three movies in which deuces are wild. Just one wine pairing for each film, though.

David Cronenberg's 1988 weirdness was Dead Ringers, starring Jeremy Irons, an actor who excels in every genre he chooses. The weirdness? Irons plays a dual role of identical twin brothers who are gynecologists. Where did Cronenberg ever get that idea? From two actual twin brother gynecologists. I kid you not. You could look it up. The script, however, is described as "highly fictionalized." It is, but not as much as you might expect.

Law & Order fans will note that Jill Hennessy got her big break in Dead Ringers, appearing, she and her twin sister, as double-your-pleasure prostitutes. 

Twice as nice is the Double Eagle Cabernet, from the Grieve Winery. Let's not focus on naming a company Grieve, even if that is your name. Let's focus on the $90 Napa Valley cult wine lookalike. Double your pleasure by making it a magnum, 1.5 liters instead of 750 milliliters. 

The 1947 film noir A Double Life stars Ronald Colman in the role that netted him an Oscar. He plays an actor who leans a little too heavily into his characters. That's not so bad when he plays a well-meaning but befuddled man of the people. But when he plays, say, Othello - look out. He's a method man who is actually schizophrenic. 

His double life gets derailed by the double of a woman he is seeing. That is a perfect way to divide and conquer a split personality. Maybe he should have taken a part in A Midsummer Night's Dream instead of Othello.

Double Trouble is a Washington state blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from Charles & Charles. You probably won't get into as much trouble with this wine as Colman got into as Othello. 

The Black Room, a 1935 Boris Karloff film, has the horror king playing two roles - twin brothers in an Austrian castle. Oh, and there is a family curse which states that one of the brothers would kill the other in the castle's black room. That would be caution enough for me to stay away from it, hide out in the green room or the blue room. Or here's an idea: repaint the black room. But you know that's not where we're headed. 

Karloff made this film after scaring the nation witless with Frankenstein, The Mummy and Bride of Frankenstein, so he was on a bit of a major roll.

With the brothers as twins, it is no spoiler to mention that the killer twin assumes the identity of the other one. He is exposed in a way that reminds me of the Dr. John song, "How Come My Dog Don’t Bark When You Come Around." Except, of course, the dog does bark. Evil Karloff ends up hoist by his own petard, as it were. And if you look up the origin of the word "petard," you'll find out why Shakespeare was such a funny guy.

Pichetti Winery - in Cupertino, of all places - has a Brother's Blend which will be a lot kinder to you than evil Karloff was to his bro. Petit Verdot, Malbec and Syrah grapes join together to form a bridge from Bordeaux to the Rhône Valley, by way of California's Central Coast. It's a $43 petard. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Summertime Cooler From Rioja

Summertime - especially this one - calls for wines that like to be served with a chill. The winemakers of Rioja want you to know that they craft many wines that go very well with hot weather - whites and rosés for sure, but even a few red crianzas like to be iced down before braving a barbecue. 

El Coto Rose 2021

Hot weather always cries out for a nice, cool rosé. The 2021 El Coto Rosado is made from estate grown grapes - 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha - from the Los Almendros Vineyard.

Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the retail price is about $12.

It is a pretty, pink wine with a color maybe a bit deeper than salmon. The nose is beautiful - full of ripe, red fruit aromas like strawberries and cherries - with a bit of lemony citrus in there for a show of minerality. The palate is incredibly fresh and juicy, with all the fruit you smell plus a zippy acidity that will serve salads and seafood extremely well.